Hoping to avoid the type of drama that DeKalb’s ethics board has faced, members of the county’s elections board decided to be proactive in changing the way they are appointed.
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled last year that DeKalb’s ethics board members appointed by community groups are serving unconstitutionally. Only elected officials can select people to serve on government oversight boards in Georgia, the ruling said.
VIDEO: Previous coverage of DeKalb ethics issues
The General Assembly recently approved a fix to get DeKalb’s ethics board back on track, but it has sat dormant for months.
The county’s elections board has not been challenged, but members said there was no need to test fate.
Under existing rules, the two political parties receiving the most votes in an election -- usually the Republican and Democratic parties -- appoint two members each to the DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections. Those four individuals then choose who the fifth and final member of the board will be.
The General Assembly has approved a new law that adds another step to comply with the Supreme Court ruling. The legislation still allows the top two political parties to nominate two members each, but the chief judge of DeKalb’s Superior Court gets final say.
The chief judge will also select the fifth of the elections board.
Senate Bill 246 breezed through the legislative process, passing as part of a slate of local legislation in each chamber. It now awaits Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature.
The change would go into effect immediately.